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Motorsport

Lamborghini is building a hybrid Le Mans hypercar for 2024

Lambo steps into the top tier to compete for overall victory in endurance racing. Oh yes

Published: 17 May 2022

Lamborghini has announced its intention to build an LMDh prototype, which sounds like the fabled Sant’Agata firm is taking on the cutthroat and competitive world of photocopiers. Alas, LMDh actually stands for ‘Le Mans Daytona hybrid’, and that sketch is the first glance at a top tier Squadra Corse racing car.

So, short story: Lamborghini is building a hybrid racing car that’ll be able to compete for outright victory at the most famous endurance race in the world.

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The long story? That starts back in 2009, and because we haven’t got any technical details nor hugely indicative styling cues, might as well take the scenic route. So, why, Lamborghini? “We were there from the very beginning when we started with a one-make race series in 2009,” Lamborghini boss Stephan Winkelmann told TopGear.com. “And it was successful, first in Europe, then in Asia-Pacific and finally in North America.

“It was a logical step to take, to create awareness because experience on the racetrack is very good for our street-legal cars,” he said. “The next logical step was GT3, and in the last few years the results gave us a heads-up for the future.”

Indeed, Lamborghini’s going hybrid in 2023 and 2024, and so the LMDh regulations provide the perfect test bed for the company’s future supercars. “On one hand, this will give our successful motorsports programme even more visibility, but it will also allow us to test future technologies,” Winkelmann said. “Our LMDh prototypes will become our most sophisticated open laboratory on four wheels.”

Lambo’s prototype will be eligible for both the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship, both in the top tier, and therefore able to take outright victory. LMDh regs currently state each entrant must use a chassis from one of four manufacturers – Lambo hasn't yet announced which one it’ll use – along with a hybrid setup.

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The engine will be Lamborghini’s own, though, with the spec announced later on this year. And we’ll have to wait a little longer still to see any more of the design, but it’ll be… Lamborghini. “Next year we’ll have the follow-up to the Aventador coming,” Winkelmann told TG, “and our 60th anniversary, and this is the moment we will show for the first time the design of the LMDh car. We will do the utmost to transfer the Lamborghini DNA into the LMDh car.”

Lambo’s motorsport boss Giorgio Sanna added: “The regulations defining LMDh are very pragmatic, and allow us to have a very close and straight link in design with the street cars. It’s easier to transfer the DNA of the company, and design for us is a fundamental pillar in the company strategy.

“We have big expectations for the LMDh car,” he added, “and the ‘wow’ factor will be present in this car.”

How does Sanna think Lambo will fare in a field filled to the brim with manufacturers? “The target is to be competitive from the beginning,” he told TG.

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“This step up into the highest echelon of sports car racing marks an important milestone for our company,” Winkelmann added. “We will be measuring ourselves against the very best, on the most demanding proving grounds.”

Roll on 2024.

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